We saw in chapter 2 that the first requirement for learning abdomina-and diaphragmatic breathing is to discard the habits of chronic chest am paradoxical breathing, and the headstand makes this possible. If you ar< familiar with the four methods of breathing in upright postures, and i you practice the headstand regularly, come up in the posture and try tr breathe thoracically and then paradoxically. It's not so easy, because th rib cage is held in place by isometric contraction of muscles throughou the torso. Kven the intercostal muscles participate in stabilizing th headstand isometrically, and it is difficult for them to do that and at th same time mobihze the rib cage for chest breathing. What is more, foi of the five muscles that hold the scapula in place (excepting only tb levator scapulae) have their origins on the chest and tend to hold it in fixed position. And finally, the pectoralis major stabilizes the che from the front, and the latissimus dorsi envelops it from behind. Take together, these restrictions bind the rib cage so firmly that liftin it toward the floor for chest and paradoxical breathing would I unthinkable.
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